The Check and Improve processes described in this chapter and the next are tightly linked and of continuous duration in an Operational Excellence program. They connect and work together to assure maximum results and that the processes and practices responsible for producing results are sustained. Simply stated, Check is a continuing process to measure results for assurance they meet or exceed expectations for contribution to enterprise and program business/mission objectives, value, return, and compliance to schedule.

In practical terms, even the best, most well thought out, detailed, and implemented plan will meet unexpected challenges and barriers. To paraphrase a military axiom: “plans are perfect until first placed in action—then reality introduces itself!” Learning and planning do not stop at doing; rather both continue. The unexpected should be expected. The Check process identifies the unexpected. Improve includes the adjustments, refinements, and activities to assure gains are firmly embedded into the institutional cultural fabric.

A comment was made during a workshop that the enterprise was quite good at defining actions, including detailed steps to be taken. Often, this did not carry over to implementation. Many cited major weaknesses in follow-up to assure anticipated results are achieved and the improvement is sustained.


As discussed in Chapter 14, each improvement action plan must have several activity ...

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